Study Guide

The Nicomachean Ethics Book 8, Chapter 9 (1159b25-1160a25)

By Aristotle

Book 8, Chapter 9 (1159b25-1160a25)

  • Aristotle explains how friendship and the just are related.
  • There's a political aspect to friendship, in that there's a feeling of goodwill between members of any given community.
  • These friendships vary, as do members or groups in a community. What's just also changes depending on the friendship type (father/son, brothers, comrades-in-arms, etc.).
  • What's unjust is relative, too, in friendships. But in friendships, the stakes are higher: it's far worse to do something unjust to a friend than it is to do so to a stranger.
  • The level of justice also goes way up in friendship, since equality is essential in a relationship of this kind.
  • In some ways, friendships are a microcosm of political communities. Friends come together for mutual benefit, to make life better for each other.
  • And the political community is friendship in macrocosm: groups band together for immediate advantage or for a more lasting common good.